CALIFORNIA STATE UNIVERSITY, FRESNO
POLITICAL SCIENCE 2
Introduction to American Government
Semester: SPRING 2020 Section: 87-36428
Instructor: Darlene Haines Class Meets: TBA Jan 17 – May 14, 2020
Email: email@example.com Room: ONLINE
Office Hours: By appointment only Phone/Text: 559-797-1321
Remind: Text @fsu87 to 81010 to join OR go to https://www.remind.com/join/fsu87
This course meets the United States Constitution requirement and the federal, California state, and local government
requirement. Not open to students with credit in PLSI 101. The development and operation of government in the
United States; study of how ideas, institutions, laws, and people have constructed and maintained a political order in
America. Not available for CR/NC grading. G.E. Breadth D2.
REQUIRED COURSE MATERIALS
• American Government 2e. Krutz, Glen and Sylvie Waskiewicz. Feb 21, 2019. OpenStax: Creative
Commons. ISBN: 978-1-947172-65-4
The text is available in electronic version free by using the following link:
• Field, Mona (2018). California Government and Politics Today, 15th edition. Pearson Education: New York, NY.
• Computer or e-device
• Good internet connection
PREREQUISITE: GE Foundation A2 for students in English college-readiness Category III and IV.
Students will be able to critically analyze political and ideological debates regarding important issues, understand the
proper role political representation plays in a democratic society, design and enact public policy in the public interest,
and effectively assess the consequences of those policies as they become political leaders, public managers, private
sector attorneys, for- profit/nonprofit managers, and even professional scholars.
Meets the United States Constitution requirement and the federal, California state, and local government requirement.
The development and operation of government in the United States; study of how ideas, institutions, laws, and people
have constructed and maintained a political order in America. Not available for CR/NC grading. G.E. Breadth D2.
STUDENT LEARNING OUTCOMES
Upon completing a course in Area D2 (American Government), a student will be able to:
1. Explain the structure of the governments of the United States of America and the State of California.
2. Recognize the major political philosophies regarding the role of government articulated in current political
3. Assess the meaning of representation in a democratic system of government and the pathways through which
citizens may seek representation.
ONLINE CLASSROOM GUIDELINES
While these guidelines are not all encompassing, they do provide a basic idea of acceptable behavior for you to
follow. Failure to follow these guidelines could result in the following: (1) Meeting with the instructor; (2) Loss of
points earned in class; (3) Other disciplinary action and/or removal from class.
1. Proper online etiquette should be used at all times. This includes the following:
• Participate: This is a shared learning environment. No lurking in the cyberspace background. It is not enough
to login and read the discussion thread of others. For the maximum benefit to all, everyone must contribute.
• Report Glitches: Discussion forums are electronic. They break. If for any reason you experience difficulty
participating, please call, email, or otherwise inform me of the issue. Chances are others are having the same
• Help Others: You may have more experience with online discussion forums than the person next to you.
Give them a hand. Show them it’s not so hard. They’re really going to appreciate it!
• Be Patient: Read everything in the discussion thread before replying. This will help you avoid repeating
something someone else has already contributed. Acknowledge the points made with which you agree and
suggest alternatives for those with which you don’t.
• Be Brief: You want to be clear—and to articulate your point—without being preachy or pompous. Be direct.
Stay on point. Don’t lose yourself, or your readers, in overly wordy sentences or paragraphs.
• Use Proper Writing Style: This is a must. Write as if you were writing a term paper. Correct spelling,
grammatical construction and sentence structure are expected in every other writing activity associated with
scholarship and academic engagement. Online discussions are no different.
• Cite Your Sources: Another big must! If your contribution to the conversation includes the intellectual
property (authored material) of others, e.g., books, newspaper, magazine, or journal articles—online or in
print—they must be given proper attribution.
• Emoticons and Texting: Social networking and text messaging has spawned a body of linguistic shortcuts
that are not part of the academic dialogue. Please refrain from 🙂 faces and c u l8r’s.
• Respect Diversity: It’s an ethnically rich and diverse, multi-cultural world in which we live. Use no language
that is—or that could be construed to be—offensive toward others. Racists, sexist, and heterosexist
comments and jokes are unacceptable, as are derogatory and/or sarcastic comments and jokes directed at
religious beliefs, disabilities, and age.
• No YELLING! Step carefully. Beware the electronic footprint you leave behind. Using bold upper-case
letters is bad form, like stomping around and yelling at somebody (NOT TO MENTION BEING HARD ON
• No Flaming! Criticism must be constructive, well-meaning, and well-articulated. Please, no tantrums. Rants
directed at any other contributor are simply unacceptable and will not be tolerated. The same goes for
profanity. The academic environment expects higher-order language.
Review your written posts and responses to ensure that you’ve conveyed exactly what you intended. This is an
excellent opportunity to practice your proofreading, revision, and rewriting skills—valuable assets in the professional
world for which you are now preparing.
Hint: Read your post out loud before hitting the send button. This will tell you a lot about whether your grammar and
sentence structure are correct, your tone is appropriate, and your contribution clear or not.
**Essentially, any behavior that disrupts the class will not be tolerated.
Information on student rights, responsibilities, academic honesty, etc., can be found on the Fresno State Student
Conduct web page http://fresnostate.edu/studentaffairs/studentconduct/index.html
EXAMINATIONS AND ASSIGNMENTS
In this course you will have four exams, one final exam, 20 quizzes, 11 discussion boards, and one reflective essay.
Exams may consist of multiple choice, True False, matching, multiple answer, and/or essay questions. Specific
instructions will be given in class. It is usually expected that students will spend approximately 2 hours of study time outside of class for every one hour in class. Since this is a 3 unit class, you should expect to study an average of
6 hours outside of class each week.
Throughout the course you will be required to log on to CANVAS and complete a total of 20 quizzes. Each quiz will
consist of 5 questions worth 2 points each for a total of 10 points. Once you enter a quiz the timer will begin and you
will have 15 minutes to complete and submit the quiz. You may have THREE attempts. Correct answers will be
available only once after each attempt. Each attempt may have the same, similar, or different questions. Canvas will
record your highest attempted score. CANVAS Quizzes are due on their specified due date, however if the quiz is
available after the due date, you may still submit it late without penalty (think of this as a grace period). Quizzes
cannot be made up without a valid excuse. If you experience technical difficulties you must let the instructor know
as soon as possible.
All Exams will only be available on their scheduled due date until 11:59pm. You will have 75 minutes to complete
50 questions. You will only see one question at a time and you will not be able to skip questions and go back. All
Exams must be completed in one sitting. The Final Exam is not comprehensive.
The writing assignment will adhere to the Modern Language Association (MLA) style. Specific assignment
guidelines are available on Canvas. Writing assignments must be uploaded and submitted on Canvas.
Reflection Paper: this writing assignment will be a reflection paper on your political thoughts and attitudes
of American government and politics and what you have learned in this course. You must
upload and submit this paper on Canvas. Specific guidelines will be provided at the appropriate time in the
class and on Canvas.
Discussion Boards: These assignments will require you to conduct research on a specified topic and post to a
discussion board. In order to receive credit, you must post your summary analysis and respond to at least two other
posts. It is expected that you will write enough to develop your thoughts on the subject presented and support your
opinions with educational research. The more you think and write the more credit you may receive. Your post must
be in essay format using MLA and provide a Works Cited with links to sources used and properly use in-text
citations (see Canvas Announcements for Guidance). You should not include any assignment questions in your
response. Remember to be respectful when commenting on opinions that may differ from yours. See rubric in
Canvas for more details. Any discussion board post may be used for e-Portfolio.
LATE ASSIGNMENTS AND MISSED EXAMS:
Late assignments will be accepted until the availability date with penalty. Students who miss Exam 1-4 will have an
opportunity to take a Make-up exam. Make-up exams will only be given to students who make prior arrangement
BEFORE the scheduled exam or can provide valid proof (Doctors appointment, family emergency, etc.) that missing
the exam could not be avoided. The Make-up exam must be taken within one week of the original exam date. If a
student fails to schedule the make-up exam and/or misses the extension, the Make-up exam cannot be taken and the
student will receive a zero. The Make-up exam may be different than the version taken on the scheduled exam date
and may consist of all essay questions. “I forgot” or “I didn’t know” are not valid excuses to make up an Exam
“Members of the Fresno State academic community adhere to principles of academic integrity and mutual respect
while engaged in university work and related activities.” You should:
a) understand or seek clarification about expectations for academic integrity in this course (including no
cheating, plagiarism and inappropriate collaboration)
b) neither give nor receive unauthorized aid on examinations or other course work that is used by the
instructor as the basis of grading.
c) take responsibility to monitor academic dishonesty in any form and to report it to the instructor or
other appropriate official for action.
STUDENTS WITH DISABILITIES
Upon identifying themselves to the instructor and the university, students with disabilities will receive reasonable
accommodation for learning and evaluation. For more information, contact Services to Students with Disabilities in
the Henry Madden Library, Room 1202 (559) 278-2811.
For free tutoring on campus, contact the Learning Center (http://fresnostate.edu/studentaffairs/lrc) in the Collection
Level (basement level) of the Henry Madden Library. You can reach them by phone at (559) 278-3052. Our campus
has developed SupportNet (http://fresnostate.edu/studentaffairs/lrc/supportnet) to connect students with specific
campus resources promoting academic success. Students may be referred to SupportNet if the instructor believes they
need the services provided to be successful in the course.
CHEATING AND PLAGIARISM
“Cheating is the act or attempted act of taking an examination or performing an assigned, evaluated task in a
fraudulent or deceptive manner, such as having improper access to answers, in an attempt to gain an unearned
academic advantage. Cheating may include, but is not limited to, copying from another’s work, supplying one’s
work to another, giving or receiving copies of examinations without an instructor’s permission, using or displaying
notes or devices inappropriate to the conditions of the examination, allowing someone other than the officially
enrolled student to represent the student, or failing to disclose research results completely.”
“Plagiarism is a specific form of cheating: the use of another’s words or ideas without identifying them as such or
giving credit to the source. Plagiarism may include, but is not limited to, failing to provide complete citations and
references for all work that draws on the ideas, words, or work of others, failing to identify the contributors to work
done in collaboration, submitting duplicate work to be evaluated in different courses without the knowledge and
consent of the instructors involved, or failing to observe computer security systems and software copyrights.
Incidents of cheating and plagiarism may result in any of a variety of sanctions and penalties, which may range from
a failing grade on the particular examination, paper, project, or assignment in question to a failing grade in the
course, at the discretion of the instructor and depending on the severity and frequency of the incidents.”
PARTICIPATION AND ATTENDANCE
A student’s first responsibility is to attend class and learn. The University expects students to attend
all classes for which they are enrolled. Instructors may establish specific attendance regulations and
make-up work policies governing their classes and must provide them to their students at the
beginning of the semester.
Unplanned student absences
Unplanned student absences should be authorized when the student has a short-term serious
and compelling medical condition or when a death or serious illness in the immediate family
(i.e., parent, spouse, sibling or child) prevents attending class. The student is responsible for
contacting the instructor as soon as possible after the missed class period and for providing
documentation of the reason for the absence upon returning to class. In the event the student
absence is authorized and make-up work is allowed, missed papers, tests and/or homework
assignments should be made up as soon as practicable. Students with extensive absences
should recognize the consequences of missing class on both their learning and grade. When a
student is absent for an extended time period, a viable make-up plan may not be feasible. In
these circumstances, other actions such as dropping the class or withdrawing from the
University may be appropriate.
Absences for University-sponsored activities
In creating a schedule for a semester when a student can anticipate increased demands on
his/her time, the student must judiciously schedule courses. Reciprocally, faculty have the
obligation to limit both class activities/assignments and official University-sponsored
activities/events that require a student to miss other classes. Student absences for University sponsored activities
should be authorized only when: (1) the event is sponsored by the University; (2) the student represents the
University at the event; and (3) the student provides written documentation of points one and two to the instructor at
least two weeks prior to the event. In anticipation of authorized absences due to University-sponsored activities
students may submit their work to the instructor prior to the absence. This includes papers, tests, and/or homework
“All faculty members shall be free to pursue instruction, grading, scholarship, policy discussions, and public
discourse in an environment free of intimidation and censorship. All faculty members shall exercise their academic
freedom in a manner that promotes the University’s mission and that abides by the Institutional Code of Ethics (AP
3050). The merit of academic ideas, theories, arguments, and views shall be measured against the established
standards of relevant academic and professional organizations. Academic freedom includes freedom of inquiry and
instruction for every faculty member, including freedom in presenting and discussing subjects related to his academic
discipline. Academic freedom also includes, but is not limited to, freedom to:
1. Inquire about, present, and explore difficult and controversial material that is relevant to the official course
outline of record;
2. Express differences of opinion with and among students, faculty, staff, and administration on academic
3. Demonstrate, teach, and defend critical thinking skills and intellectual honesty.
Every faculty member is a member of a learned profession and shall have the freedom to use his professional
scholarship, and present this scholarship in any academic discourse.
GRADING: ASSIGNMENT TOTALs
Exams (5) 100 points each 36% (500 points)
Quizzes (20) 10 points each 14% (200 points)
Discussion Boards (1) 30 points
(10) 50 points each
38% (530 points)
Student Success Quizzes (2) (10 points each) 1% (20 points)
Reflective Essay (150) points 11% (150 points)
TOTAL 100% (1,400 points)
A 1,400 points to 1,260 points
B 1,259 points to 1,120 points
C 1,119 points to 980 points
D 979 points to 840 points
F 839 points and below
TENTATIVE COURSE OUTLINE
UNIT COURSE ACTIVITY DUE BY
Discussion Board: Introduction
Discussion Board: Purpose of Government
Read: Chapter 1 – American Government & Civics
Quiz 2 – Democracy
Read: Chapter 2 – The Constitution
Quiz 3 – The Constitution
Discussion Board: Checks & Balances
Read: Chapter 3 – Federalism
Quiz 4 – Federalism
Discussion Board: Autonomous Vehicles
Tues, Jan 21
Thurs, Jan 23
Mon, Jan 27
Wed, Jan 29
Thurs, Jan 30
Wed, Feb 5
Thurs, Feb 6
Mon, Feb 10, 2020
Read: Chapter 4 – Civil Liberties
Quiz 5 – Civil Liberties
Discussion Board: Masterpiece Bakery Case
Read: Chapter 5 – Civil Rights
Quiz 6 – Civil Rights
Discussion Board: Affirmative Action
Wed, Feb 12
Thurs, Feb 13
Wed, Feb 19
Thurs, Feb 20
Mon, Feb 24, 2020
Read: Chapter 6 – Public Opinion
Quiz 7 – Public Opinion
Read: Chapter 8 – The Media
Quiz 8 – The Media
Read: Chapter 7 – Voting & Elections
Quiz 9 – Participation & Voting
Read: Chapter 9 – Political Parties
Quiz 10 – Political Parties
Discussion Board: Electoral College
Read: Chapter 10 – Interest Groups
Quiz 11 – Interest Groups
Discussion Board: Interest Groups
Read: Chapter 7.4 – Campaigns & Elections
Quiz 12 – Campaigns & Elections
Thurs, Feb 27
Tues, Mar 3
Thurs, Mar 5
Tues, Mar 10
Thurs, Mar 12
Tues, Mar 17
Thurs, Mar 19
Fri, Mar 20
Mon, Mar 23, 2020
Read: Chapter 11 – The President
Quiz 13 – The President
Read: Chapter 12 – The Bureaucracy
Quiz 14 – The Bureaucracy
Discussion Board: The Fourth Branch
Read: Chapter 15 – Congress
Quiz 15 – Congress
Discussion Board: U.S. House of Representatives
Read: Chapter 13 – The Courts
Quiz 16 – The Courts
Wed, Mar 25
Tues, Mar 31
Thurs, Apr 2
Tues, Apr 14
Thurs, Apr 16
Fri, Apr 17
Mon, Apr 20, 2020
Read: Chapter 16 – Domestic & Economic Policy
Quiz 17 – Social Policy
Discussion Board: U.S. Crime Policy
Quiz 18 – Economic Policy
Read: Chapter 17 – Foreign Policy
Quiz 19 – Foreign Policy
Read: Chapter 14 – State & Local Government
Read: California Politics and Government
Wed, Apr 22
Thurs, Apr 23
Tues, Apr 28
Fri, May 1
California Chapters TBD
Mon, May 11, 2019
Tues, May 12, 2019
COURSE TOPICS: 1. Study both the theory and practice of “democracy.”
2. Research the forces and political philosophies that influenced the founding fathers of the United States and the
framers of the Constitution.
3. Compare and contrast the Articles of Confederation with the Constitution of the United States of America,
including a discussion of the Federalist and Anti-Federalist factions.
4. Review the role played by the U. S. Constitution in (a) creating our federal system of government, with its
subsequent divided responsibilities, and (b) establishing the separation of powers and checks and balances principles
at the national level, as well as the implications of such.
5. Examine the federal system as a practical device to accommodate—within one government—national and local
needs unique to the United States.
6. Evaluate the relationship between the Bill of Rights, the government, and the concept of “civil liberty,” noting that
liberty is both the absence of governmental intrusion and the result of a set of guarantees that protect the individual
against the excesses of government.
7. Assess the idea of civil rights as the rights of all citizens to equal protection of the law, as provided in the 14th
Amendment of the Constitution. Students will also explore the development of civil rights, using the evolving civil
rights of African-Americans and other groups as examples.
8. Consider his/her role as a voter in the United States political system, and survey the varying forms and systems of
elections used in the United States, including primary elections, general elections, California referendum and
initiative elections, California recall elections, and the electoral college.
9. Gain an understanding of the characteristics of the American political party system and the functions parties serve
in the process of governing.
10. Analyze the issues surrounding the development of public opinion, and its influence on the formation of public
11. Examine the influence of different means of mass communication (media)—both news-based and entertainment-
based—on the development of public policy, and the techniques employed by each.
12. Evaluate the positive and negative effects of the countervailing influences of interest groups in American politics,
the tactics of interest groups, and the means employed for keeping them honest.
13. Appraise the powers and limitations of the office of the President of the United States, and examine the roles
he/she plays as a ceremonial, political, administrative, military, and legislative leader.
14. Examine the various powers/roles of Congress, different theories of representation, and the strengths and
weaknesses of the legislative, or lawmaking, process.
15. Study the role of the national courts in interpreting the Constitution, shaping individual rights, and determining
the distribution of governmental power. Students will also consider the subtleties of constitutional interpretation,
noting that the Constitution is a living document that adapts to changing needs.
16. Explore the vastness and complexity of the bureaucracy. Students will investigate the different national
departments and agencies, the characteristics of their growth and evolution and the mechanics of reorganization and
reform; and to comprehend the difficulties of effective reform.
17. Examine the programs in the area of domestic policy intended to promote “the general welfare.”
18. Investigate the forces that shape American foreign and defense policy.
19. Study the structure, major functions, and significant powers of both the State of California and local
governmental entities. Additionally, students will examine the relationship of state and local institutional powers to
the concept of Federalism and survey various examples of direct and indirect democracy at the state and local levels.
The instructor retains the right to change or modify this syllabus as necessary.